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April 2006
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June 2006

Lessons from B & N?

On the heels of the closing of several prominent independent bookstores, Paul Collins asks in the Voice Literary Supplement, "Do bookstores have a future?" I haven't made my way through the entire article, "Chain Reaction,"  yet, but the following caught my eye:

Like milk in a grocery store, the kids' section of a Barnes & Noble is almost always placed far from the entrance. Why?

Simple: B&N children's sections are a customer magnet, and possibly the most child-friendly and parentally designed spaces in the history of retailing. There are low shelves, allowing good sight lines so that you can see your kid. There's carpeting for inevitable toddler face-plants. A train table to play at. Comfy chairs for the parents. A single exit in sight of those chairs, so that your kid can't bolt. Sit in the Barnes & Noble kids' section, and their populist rhetoric makes sense. Some indie bookstores are not just figuratively exclusionary: If you have a stroller or a wheelchair, you literally cannot get inside some of them.

What Does People Like?

In the May 29th issue, People magazine grabs some "great reads" from the young adult fiction shelves. Recommended are the new novels  It's Kind of a Funny  Story, by Ned Vizzini; Just Listen, by Sarah Dessen; Dairy Queen, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock; and Becoming Chloe, by Catherine Ryan Hyde. There are no online links to People's very short blurb reviews of these books, but if I were making up an ad, I would borrow these phrases from the reviews—and add an exclamation point, of course. It's Kind of...: "Witty!" Just Listen: "Page-Turner!" Dairy Queen: "Wholesome Fun!" Becoming Chloe: "Lovely Ride!"

Welcome, Y'all

Welcome, Achockablog readers,  fairgoers from the Carnival of Children's Literature, and the Club Mom fans sent here by Amy's Daily Dose. You've reached the land of Chicken Spaghetti. I hope you're not jet-lagged. I write the occasional review and link news and tell a story here and there; most of this concerns children's books. I started my blog about a year ago, after admiring many of the literature and culture blogs from afar. Many of these—like Maud Newton, About Last Night, Beatrice, Moorishgirl—are listed in the sidebar at the right under More Links. Reading books with my son, who's now six, got me interested in children's literature, and voila, here I am.

My favorite childhood books were Harold and the Purple Crayon, Misty of Chincoteague (and 500 other horse stories), The Secret Garden, Heidi, The House at Pooh Corner, Little House on the Prairie, and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. Tomorrow I'll probably remember others that I liked even more. With my son, I have discovered so many books; beloved by both of us are those by Kevin Henkes, James Marshall, Bill Peet, and many, many others. (I will always love Stan and Judi Barrett's Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing for making me laugh out loud.)

Thank you for stopping by and do visit again!

4th Carnival of Children's Lit at Bonny Glen

The fourth Carnival of Children's Literature is whirling and twirling at Here in the Bonny Glen. All carloads are getting in for free. Grab a candy apple and head over.

A blog carnival is a roundup of links to posts on a particular topic; in this case, it's children's books. How fun is that?

A round of applause goes  to Melissa, Bonny Glen's proprietor, who 1. has a new baby; 2. home-schools her other children; 3. is about to launch a Club Mom blog; 4. writes books (oh, yeah, that little thing); and 5. keeps her blog lively and up-to-date as ever. (Was there Wi-Fi in the hospital?) Take a bow, Melissa!

Previous kid lit carnivals to indulge in are
#1 at Here in the Bonny Glen
#2 right here at Chicken Spaghetti
#3 at Semicolon

Carnival #5 takes place at Big A little a.

The Whole Shack Shimmies

Yo, music lovers! Get ready for those summer road trips and stock up on some tunes.

The Lovely Mrs. Davis reviews Dan Zanes's latest CD, and it sound like a must-buy. You'll get plenty of other recommendations for good, non-sappy music for kids at The Lovely Mrs. Davis Tells You What to Think. Don't miss her post on boys and reading, too.

Meanwhile over at Children's Music That Rocks, Warren Truitt says that  the best bar band in the country is the Rhodes Tavern Troubadours, who play music for children. He reviews the group's CD "Turn It Up, Mommy!" Yeah! Another one for the gotta-get list. By day the Kids' Music critic is a librarian at the Donnell Library Center, in NYC. (As for that  best bar band claim, until I hear the RTTs, I'll have to go with Nashville's own Webb Wilder. Not that I hang out in bars. Any more.  Mom.)

Stop by these two juke joints and say howdy.

Weekend Reading: BookExpo America

Some links to reports from BookExpo America, the huge publishing trade show in Washington.

Newsday reporter Aileen Jacobson blogs about Queen Latifah, who has written a children's book; the actress and rapper gave the keynote address for the African American part of BEA.

Ed Champion's Return of the Reluctant weighs in on New York Times Book Review editor Sam Tanenhaus and company's panel about American fiction since 1980. Or rather, he takes them to task. Interesting reading.

Ron Hogan at GalleyCat catches up with The Long Tail author Chris Anderson's talk.

Lauren Cerand, publicist and Maud Newton contributor, documents some pre-BEA socializin', over at her own blog,  Lux Lotus.

A blogger from the literacy organization First Book records a day in the booth at the big show.

Hey! A kid lit blogger is there. Sheila of Wands and Words promises coverage later on.

The Millions yawns at the Blogs 2.0 panel.

Meanwhile completely unrelated to BEA, the Disco Mermaids crack "The dePaola Code." Funny.